I recently turned 21. Other than the initial excitement over the legal ability to purchase booze and the frightening sense of entitlement and disdain towards others that wearing that fancy wristband at bars now gives me, becoming officially “old” doesn’t mean much to me. After all, I don’t measure how old I am by years, but by how many cardigans I have worn.
But as time went on, I began to notice things: strangers started to treat me more respectfully, and I developed a strange affinity towards hard candies. That’s when it dawned on me: I really am aging.
When I was in high school, I couldn’t wait to get to college. I was tired of being constantly at somebody else’s beck and call, and having my life pre-scheduled and pre-planned. I wanted to take charge of my life and have some freedom. Then I got to college.
Now, this is a secret that most of you have already learned, but many of my younger readers have not: Freedom sucks.
I mean do you know what a pain it is to plan out your own life? I’m using a calendar – a calendar!! – and I’m finally beginning to understanding the point of sticky notes. I didn’t even know calendars existed until I was 15; hell, I always just assumed that my dad decided what he wanted to do and then did it whenever the damn well he pleased. And the worst part is that the entire version of the calendar I use is apparently expiring after this year.
It would be so nice to be able tell those people I kind of know but find kind of intimidating that I can’t do something potentially fun with them because my dad wants me home to clean out the toxic waste box, and instead come home, take off my pants, drink a beer, watch Arthur, and remember my younger days of cleaning out the toxic waste box and hating my life. Because parents provide a good scapegoat to blame if you aren’t doing the best job at life. The problem is that now that I’m on my own, I can only blame myself.
This does lead me to the one benefit of post-parental freedom, though: you don’t have to wear pants. I wear pants maybe 20% of the time, while I go to classes maybe 15% of the time. I can barely do homework or think critically while wearing my pants anymore. You think I’m wearing pants right now? No way. In fact, here’s a little chart I made that discusses pants-wearing as a function of age:
If you notice, once one hits college, pants-wearing decreases dramatically. Of course, you slowly and reluctantly start wearing pants again as one nears middle age – kids are birthed, women are offended, and restraining orders are drawn up (who doesn’t get at least one in their life, amirite?) Once you get old, it’s true that you don’t give a shit anymore, but you do shit a lot more; you gotta have something to hide your diaper. Then, of course, most non-nudists are buried with pants on.
*Ahem* Back to the point: freedom sucks. Along with freedom comes a need to define yourself. In one of my classes this semester, poetically called “The Branding of Me,” we’re going to learn how to advertise ourselves to future employers and to the world. So, I started to think about who I was and how I could advertise myself to the world. Here’s what I came up with:
You see, I hit a roadblock: I’m not a world-class athlete, an innovative new product, or a new movie blockbuster. In fact, I’m a suburban white guy who attends a prestigious school and whose best attempt at rebellion in high school was to sneak out at night with his friends and rearrange his neighbors’ outdoor furniture (it felt so bad-ass at the time). Thanks for making me feel good about myself, Mr.Teacherman (there’s a possibility that’s his name.)
But, as I said in my first post, it’s about the small things.
Add one more to the list:
11. My all time goal in life is to never again have a positive correlation between my age and how often I wear pants.
Then, I will be truly successful.